I’m absolutely loving the Malaysia Food Fest’s Sarawak Month. Seeing everyone’s enthusiasm about Sarawak and its offering is rather heartening. If you have not joined in the fun, check out the facebook event page for all the lovely entries so far. Even as a Sarawakian myself, I’m still discovering new dishes I’ve never tried before.
Well today I’m going to blog about probably the most well-known signature dish in Sarawak: Kolo Mee. The allure of this dish lies in its simplicity. Usually in a bowl of Kolo Mee we would expect a few things: Springy and oily noodles (with pork lard), Minced Pork (well seasoned), Char Siew (usually of less fatty cut), and Vegetables (Choy Sum). Sometimes you could also find special version with extra toppings such as pork liver and prawns. There are also halal versions too, although I doubt it would be as addictive as the original.
The funny thing is, I’ve never really ordered Kolo Mee in Bintulu. I’d either go for Kampua (Foochow) mee, or Kolo Kueh Tiaw (purists would probably scoff at this, hehe).
Old habits die hard I guess, my family has been ordering this for many many years at the same place. That’s why it never even occur to me to change it to the original noodles. But luckily, my mum recently travelled back to Bintulu and I’ve asked her to bring me some dry kolo mee noodles.
To make Kolo Mee at home, it actually does take a considerate amount of effort. First, you have to prep the Char Siew, render the pork lard for the oil (though I have some leftover from a while ago), then you’ll have to cook/blanch a few things at once to put together a perfect bowl of noodles. I’ve also pickled some green chilies a day ahead.
So, without further ado, let’s walk through the steps of making this dish.
Pickled Green Chilies:
All you need are some chopped up green chilies (of course), about 5 or 6. Put them all in a sterile jar, add a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt, then pour rice vinegar until everything’s covered. Keep this in a fridge at least overnight. This will last for weeks too. Use it for anything. Frank kept stealing pieces out of the jar!
To render the pork lard, refer here.
For Char Siew, I’ve referred to this recipe from My Asian Kitchen (and tweaked the amount of ingredients). I’ve actually use quite a lean cut of Pork too.
Char Siew :
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cooking Chinese wine
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1-2 drop red food color
honey for brushing
Combine all seasoning with pork in a large container. Marinate pork for a few hours or overnight in fridge.
Heat oven to 180 degree Celcius. Line a baking tray with baking papper. Place marinated pork on the baking tray,bake pork for 20 minutes,then turn the other side,bake for another 20 minutes.
Brush pork with honey and then change setting to grill at 200 degree Celsius,roast the pork for another 5-10 minutes or so each side (brushing the other side too) until it is charred around the edges. Let cool, and cut to serve.
You’ll also need to prepare some Shallot oil. Just fry chopped shallot in peanut oil until golden brown. Set aside, leaving some oil on the pan.
Mince Pork Marinate (for about 30g):
1 teaspoon Shao Xing Wine
2 teaspoon of light soya sauce
a couple of dashes of white pepper powder
Marinate for at least 1 hour. Fry pork in the shallot oil until well-cooked.
Now that most of the preps are done, let’s get to the main part of the cooking.
1 serving of dry noodles
Handful of Choy Sum
1 tablespoon Pork Lard
1 tablespoon Shallot Oil (Shallots included)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Chicken Stock Powder (or MSG)*
1 teaspoon Rice Vinegar (from the Pickled chillies)
White Pepper, to taste
Pickled Chilies for Garnish
Chopped Spring Onions for Garnish
*As I’ve previously mentioned, I don’t cook with MSG at home. But Chicken Stock Powder is a good substitute and much better for you.
Add all the seasonings in a large bowl.
Cook the noodles in boiling water until al dente, for the dry noodles it takes about 3-4minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Then return to the boiling water again for around 30 seconds. In the same pot of water if you like, blanch the choy sum for about 1 minute. Set Aside.
Once the noodles are ready, mix in the bowl with the seasonings. Then garnish with Char Siew, Minced Pork, Choy Sum, Chilies, and Spring Onions. Enjoy while hot!
The noodles, while perfectly al dente and springy, are fragrant with the pork lard and shallot oil. You get the sweetness of the Char Siew complementing the Savoury Minced Pork, while the Vegetables provides the crunch and freshness. The vinegar is just enough to cut through the richness of the noodles. A bowl of this would keep me full for hours. Now I’m just glad there are more nooodles lying around.
Have you got a favourite Kolo Mee stall?